Australia expects to sign a free trade pact with China in the first half of 2014 after nine years of negotiations, an Australian official said. "It's time to sign the agreement," Australia's Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane said at the 15th China Mining Conference and Exhibition. Macfarlane hoped a comprehensive deal would be on the table for Prime Minister Tony Abbott's visit to China next year. China and Australia have held nine rounds of free trade talks since 2005, China's News Agency (Xinhua) reported. China is the largest importer of Australian goods. Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at 122.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.